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Showing posts from 2015

"To: Jesus, with Love"

Amidst all of the shopping, wrapping, baking and partying you are doing ... STOP right now and take a minute to remember what all of this celebration is about. Do you remember? Right. Its Jesus. He is the reason we are celebrating. Or, rather, should be the reason. 
I will be honest and admit that I have been terrible about sending out Christmas cards and wishes for the last couple years. But, despite my failure to do so, we have still received quite a few cards from our more prepared, dedicated family and friends. While they are all beautiful and all have filled my heart with warmth, there was one in particular that I cannot let go of... 
Inside the card was a sheet of paper folder into a square. It was a typed letter and, before I fully opened it, I saw that it was signed "Love, Jesus Christ." Intrigued as to why someone would send me a long letter and claim it to be written by Jesus, I just had to read it. 
It began with Jesus talking about his birthday celebration and how h…

For a second time

It was weird going through holidays for the first year after my dad passed away. Even though I wasn't living near him at the time, there were still the holiday wishes, traditions... and, of course, his mere presence. I thought the more meaningful holidays would be more difficult. We cried, we laughed, we made new traditions, I cried some more. But we got through. 
Last New Years Eve was the worst for me. I hadn't given it much thought since it really isn't a family-type holiday, etc. It may sound odd, but this hit me really hard -- I was leaving the last year my dad saw and was moving into a new year - without him. A new year that he will never see...2015.
I cannot begin to explain the feelings that I had at that time. I dreaded that day and as much as I was trying to be excited for change and a new, fresh year... I felt an emptiness all the way to the core of my being. He is gone. 
I wrote many times previously about coincidences and how I do not believe in them. And how tho…

The anxious bug

Hello, again! This post is slightly different than most, but its something that is very real in my life and I wanted to share. 
Before I start spilling out a boatload of verbiage, let me present a situation to you:
You are driving down the road and you have a thought about where you are heading. For all intents and purposes, lets say you are heading to work. So, again, you are driving down the road thinking about work. Then you remember the project that you didn't finish before you left last night. And, then you think about your boss who is likely going to be there when you arrive at work - and you know he is going to ask you about that project. Its ok, you will remain calm. Well, until you remember that you have to take a longer-than-normal lunch today because you have an eye doctor appointment. Oh, no. And you have to leave early to get your daughter to her recital on time. The thought pops into your head momentarily that perhaps calling off of work would just save everything - ex…

December 1st

"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..." whether sung by Johnny Mathis or Michael Buble, its the same... Christmas is coming. In fact, as I peeled November off of my work calendar, I had to catch my breath a little. We have 25 days. That's it, folks. Are you ready? 
I will be honest... I'm not. In fact, I am really struggling this year. Let me explain why. 

A couple months ago I joined a community orchestra. Our first concert, of course, is a "holiday" concert and we are, therefore, playing nothing but "holiday" music. Because of this, I have been singing, humming, and whistling Christmas music since about mid-October. I couldn't wait for Halloween and Thanksgiving to pass us by so I could focus on Christmas! In fact, I was begging to put our tree up 2 months ago!! (I lost this battle, by the way). 
Then this happened: 
Commercials, news reports, overheard dialogue, social media and various other communications ALL focused on... you gu…

Don't blow out the flame.

Radical Faith - what is it? Faith by itself is defined as having complete trust and confidence in God and/or a strong system of religious beliefs. If we add the term radical before the word faith, wouldn't this turn plain ol' faith into an extreme trust, confidence and belief?
Like I have mentioned numerous times, I am fairly new to my faith. I am just discovering what God can do and how the whole universe seems to be linked together, squashing the idea of any mere 'coincidence'. My faith grows stronger with each passing day. 
But what about radical faith? Seems like so many of us go to church, tell those around us that we are praying for them, hold our bibles, proclaim that we are Christians. But how many actually stop and say a prayer for someone when we said that we would? And how many actually open their bibles and study them, rather than letting dust collect on the cover? And how many actually follow the principles laid out within God's word that define what a t…

Construction zone

Well, hello there! If you are reading this at night, Congrats! You have made it through another day of beauty and challenges. And for those morning, folks - put on your armor and jump full force into your day today... you are not alone as you step out. Look for the beauty, its always there.
I know, I know... Some days the beauty is more difficult to see, isn't it? I have those days sometimes, too.
But check out some of these lyrics of Just Be Held by Casting Crowns:
Hold it all together everybody needs you strong.  But life hits you out of nowhere and barely leaves you holding on. 
So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held.  Your world's not falling apart, its falling into place.  I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held.  Just be held.
If your eyes are on the storm You'll wonder if I love you still. But if your eyes are on the cross You'll know I always have and I always will.
And not a tear is …

Life is not a looking glass

Time is short. Very short. It runs out so quickly and we cannot get it back. I don't know about you, but I ALWAYS have great intentions and then time gets away from me and, before I know it, I don't have enough time to finish all that I want to do. (And, you guessed it, that explains why I am so late at writing this blog.) "Life is not a looking glass, don't get tangled in your past..." - Brandi Carlile
Each particle of sand that falls through this hourglass is gone...in real life, we cant flip it over and let it come back through again. Its considered the past and that is where it stays. Think about it... that breath you just took.. you took it in the past. That last sentence you read? It was in a past moment, too. Its crazy to think of things like that. 
Just look at this: There are approximately 83 days left until Christmas. That is 1,992 hours, 119,520 minutes, 7,171,200 seconds that will be gone. Forever. Time we cannot get back. That's a lot of time, isn&#…

This could be you

Lets talk hypothetical situations for a minute, shall we? You are walking down the street. You see a man sitting on the ground, his back against a building. Upon first glance, you notice his disheveled appearance, worn clothing, and the grungy backpack sitting close to him. What is your first thought? When you see his face, what or who do you see?
This is where I am learning people differ. And I apologize in advance for my bit of a rant... 
Recently, I was reading the book of Job. If you are not familiar with his story, Job was a good, faithful man who had done well in life. In my version of the bible (NLT), he is referred to as "blameless." Satan approached God and wanted to test Job's faith. God told him that he could test him in any manner he wanted, but to spare his life. During this process, Job lost all his children, his sheep, camels, oxen, donkeys, servants, etc. His body was covered in boils from head to toe. His spirits were down, but his faith never faltered. 
Ho…

Extra, Extra! Read All About It!

I am sure you have heard the phrase "Its not all about you" more than once in your lifetime, right? Maybe it was directed to you, or to someone else. Maybe you were a child, or maybe it was just yesterday! However and whenever it was, it probably didn't make you feel too good. Its kinda like someone pointing a finger right at you and telling you that you are being selfish, while reminding you that there are other people in this world.
Well guess what?

WAKE UP! IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!
Its time we do something for those around us. Those with needs greater than you and I. I know I have talked about this before, but its becoming a such a focus in my life at this time that I cannot help but bring it up again.

When was the last time you felt down in the dumps and struggled to find a smile? Yesterday? Last week? Today? It sucks, doesn't it? I know. But take a minute and think about how you felt in that moment and what you were doing ... Go on, think about it. I will wait. 

Ok,…

Gifts

I just love when connections happen... not coincidences (these don't exist, remember?)... but the connections that occur when I know I am right where I am supposed to be on my journey. Sometimes when this happens it is a huge event - bells, whistles, a marching band, or anything else that may get my attention. At other times, I feel the connection, smile, and just give thanks for the sign. It is the latter that I have been blessed with this week. 
Last week it was brought to my attention that I had been very negative for quite some time. That the comments that I had made and my overall outlook was making it hard for others to want to be around me. Ouch, right? I mean, that was my first reaction. Who wants to hear that when you are already in an apparent sour mood? Well, I didn't say much, but I listened and then I let those words sit with me for a while. It really made me take a look at how I had been behaving/acting/reacting, etc. I saw the negativity, too. 
First this happened…

Adjective: Selfish

I believe God just told me that I was selfish. I mean, I know I have my moments, but is it really necessary to use the actual term selfish?! Isn't selfish when you think of yourself first? Not really having a care or concern for anyone else? Filling your needs before others? I don't think that describes me. Or perhaps I am so selfish that I cant see it? Lets ask Webster, shall we? 
According to Webster, selfish means: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. Ouch. 
Like I've said before, its not too often that I hear God speaking to me directly. So when this happens, I do my best to listen. This time it happened about a week ago. I arrived at work extra early and was getting settled to start my day. I decided to say a prayer before I got lost in my day. While I was rambling on and on, I saw a picture in my mind, clear as day... it was a page of the bible and I sa…